Firefighters to strike again

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Firefighters will walk out on strike next week as a long-running dispute with the Government over pension reforms rumbles on.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) across the country will hold a 24-hour strike from 9am on Tuesday, December 9.

It will be the 48th period of industrial action by members of the FBU since the dispute began in 2013. The union is opposed to Government plans to raise the retirement from age 55 to 60.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters are asking the Westminster Government to immediately open genuine negotiations to resolve this dispute.

“They should also hold a House of Commons debate to fully scrutinise the legislation and there should be a parliamentary vote on the regulations.”

Mr Wrack said firefighters will fight for however long it takes to secure a fair pensions deal.

However West Yorkshire Fire Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton called for an end to the “long running and damaging dispute” and said the strike action had already cost the authority £1.3 million.

“The unquantifiable costs of damage to staff morale and the reputation of this service in the eyes of the community which we serve continue to build.

“The time is long overdue for those who can solve this long running dispute to do so and to prevent further loss and possible tragedy,” he said.

Contingency cover will be provided by those not striking and community response operatives, who have undergone three weeks of training.